Developing Web-Based Tools for the Teaching of Statistics: Our Wikis and the German Wikipedia
Sigbert Klinke
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, School of Business and Economics, Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz Chair of Statistics, Berlin, Germany

The evolution of our web-based tools shows that successful development needs a stable framework: technically and administratively. Changes in the past decade influence the development and use of such tools. Nowadays we are moving from maintaining our own infrastructure to a stronger concentration on content.

1998: MM-Stat I ( We developed a HTML based Multimedia-CD “MM-Stat” for teaching statistics to undergraduate students in economics (Rönz, Müller, Ziegenhagen 2000). It contains lectures, examples and interactive exercises in different languages (German, English, …). A severe problem was that there is no “standard” for building web resources and therefore the CD is technically out-of-date.

2001: Electronic books ( Later we then generated a number of HTML-based electronic books from LaTeX sources. The books, partly with interactive examples, are freely available for students; However maintaining the necessary technical infrastructure unfortunately became too time-consuming.

2006: Statwiki ( When the e-Learning hype decreased (Härdle, Klinke, Ziegenhagen 2007) the hype for Wiki(pedia) started to increase. We therefore established Statwiki, a wiki based dictionary, to support students in exam preparation; however a parallel development to the Wikipedia was not very practical.

2006: Teachwiki ( Since we disliked the idea of putting a student project thesis into a cupboard after evaluation and discarding it years later, we used another wiki, categorised into various courses, to put them onto the web. Some of them reach the highest ranked German search results in Google (for specific terms) and some have been transferred to the Wikibooks in statistics. The introduction of the Bachelor/Master system in Germany has made students less inclined to contribute to this wiki.

2008: MM-Stat II ( Owing to the success of the MM-Stat CD, we set up a wiki to save its content. Since then two more courses have been integrated (“Analysis of questionnaires” and “Introduction to R”) and others will follow (all in German). Email traffic has indicated that students use MM-Stat content in large volumes.

2009: German Wikipedia: In 2009 we started a new project to improve the quality of the German Wikipedia in (basic) statistics. The simultaneous benefit and disadvantage of the Wikipedia is that different contributors have different levels and perspectives; however it allows us to concentrate on the content now.


Härdle W., Klinke S., Ziegenhagen U. (2007), On the Utility of E-Learning in Statistics, International Statistical Review, 75, p. 355–364

Rönz B., Müller M., Ziegenhagen U. (2000), The Multimedia Project MM*STAT for Teaching Statistics, COMPSTAT 2000 - Proceedings in Computational Statistics. Bethlehem and van der Heijden (eds), Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, p. 409-414

Keywords: Wikipedia; Wiki; Teaching; Web-based tools

Biography: In 1995 I was awarded a PhD in statistics from the Institute of Statistics (Catholic university of Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium). Since 1993 I have been a researcher and university lecturer at the Ladislaus von Bortkewicz Chair of Statistics (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany).

My main research interests are Computational Statistics, Multivariate Statistics, Visualisation and Web-based teaching.